Howard Zinn, rest in peace

Author, teacher, and activist Howard Zinn has died, may he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Howard Zinn, author of ‘A People’s History of the United States,’ dies


Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist A People’s History of the United States became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts and a favorite of such celebrities as Bruce Springsteen and Ben Affleck, died Wednesday. He was 87.

Zinn died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, Calif., daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said. The historian was a resident of Auburndale, Mass.

Published in 1980 with little promotion and a first printing of 5,000, A People’s History was — fittingly — a people’s best-seller, attracting a wide audience through word of mouth and reaching 1 million sales in 2003. Although Zinn was writing for a general readership, his book was taught in high schools and colleges throughout the country, and numerous companion editions were published, including Voices of a People’s History, a volume for young people and a graphic novel

At a time when few politicians dared even call themselves liberal, A People’s History told an openly left-wing story. Zinn charged Christopher Columbus and other explorers with genocide, picked apart presidents from Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrated workers, feminists and war resisters.

Historian-activist Zinn dies

The Boston Globe

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist whose books such as “A People’s History of the United States” prompted a generation to rethink the nation’s past, died yesterday in Santa Monica, Calif., where he was traveling. He was 87, and lived in the Newton village of Auburndale. His daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington, said he had a heart attack.

“He’s made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture,” Noam Chomsky, the activist and MIT professor, said last night. “He’s changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can’t think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect.”

Chomsky added that Dr. Zinn’s writings “simply changed perspective and understanding for a whole generation.”

“He opened up approaches to history that were novel and highly significant,” Chomsky said. “Both by his actions and his writings for 50 years, he played a powerful role in helping and in many ways inspiring the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement.”

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